James Carville once said running for President is kind of like sex, most people want to do it more than once. In this spirit, Rick Santorum has decided to get screwed over once again. The two-term Pennsylvania Republican Senator is going to give it another go in 2016. Santorum, who shocked the political world by winning the Iowa Caucuses and came with about 2 percentage points in Ohio or Michigan from throwing the 2012 GOP race into chaos, will start out as an underdog. However, that is where he began last time.
If he is going to be in the mix Santorum will need the support of social conservatives, who were critical to his campaign last time. Can you get them? He will certainly have challengers in the form of Cruz, Paul and Huckabee. One advantage he has is that this isn’t his first rodeo. Unlike Paul and Cruz, has been through this before so there are no new revelations about him to be unearthed. If you don’t believe me Google it.
Honestly, Santorum is yesterday’s news who caught the anti-Romney wave in the 2012 primary at just the right time. This time he won’t have Willard Romney to kick around so I really doubt he’ll get out of single digits in the polls. He will probably grab the most headlines with his passionate attacks on gay marriage and the GOP becoming more socially moderate. Surely, he’ll go after any candidate who dears to push the party in that direction.
When I listed possible GOP candidates one I forgot to include was Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas Governor is certainly popular with Evangelicals and has one of the more likable personas of the any of the party’s candidates. In many polls he does well. CNN found him to be the leader in Iowa in a September survey of Republicans.
For some reason I just can’t see him running. First, he knows he’s not going to win. Second, there are other candidates who espouse his views on cultural issues like abortion, gay marriage, and guns. Third, and most importantly, he’d have to give up the TV show and the money that comes with it.
Let’s be honest Mike did well by running in 2008. He got a tv show, wrote a book, newspaper columns, and had radio show because of it. All of which paid well for him. He now has a big house in Florida and probably stays somewhere very nice when he goes to the New York City to tape his tv show. Not bad for someone no one outside of Arkansas had heard of this time in 2006.
You think he wants to trade that to work 16 hour days and trudge from event to event in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over the next year?
I didn’t think so either.
You heard it here first. Ted Cruz is the favorite to win Iowa. Oh, I know he is not top of any poll among likely Caucus goers. He certainly is not topping any national polls. Sure there is no Cruz Fever About to Sweep the Country articles about to appear in Time, the Washington Post or New York Times that libertarians seemingly get for blinking these days. But none of that matters now.
As he demonstrated at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, Cruz is emerging at the choice of social conservatives. As Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showed with their wins in 2008 and 2012 that is the key group in Iowa. Granted both Huckabee and the New Robert Evans will run again (seriously, what else do they have to do with themselves) but they are both retreads. Cruz is a new fresh face and a much more skilled debater and speaker.
As for the crop of younger challengers, this weekend as demonstrated that Washington-media darling Rand Paul has a great deal of work to do. His support for legalizing drugs and cutting foreign aid to Israel will remain barriers for him to build support among this social conservatives. In addition, Paul’s recent ambiguity on gay marriage doesn’t help with social conservatives. You notice he didn’t even come in second in the straw poll.
Before you know it it’ll be January or February 2016 in Iowa and Ted Cruz will be making his victory speech and the Bush Republicans will be freaking out. Just remember you heard it here first.
Wake the kids and phone the neighbors, Mike Pence (yes, that Mike Pence) is going to visit Iowa in September. I wonder why? Could it be to promote the GOP and support its great candidates on the ballot in November? Could it be to see the Hawkeyes pay? Maybe to both. Or it could be that the Indiana Governor is testing the waters for 2016.
My money is on the last one.
Pence has a solid conservative voting record, mid-western roots which will play well in Iowa, and as a governor does have executive experience. However, he also has a stern, humorless personality, similar to Mr. Fitts in American Beauty. Is that really the guy to get the GOP back into the White House? Many in the party base may think so.
He is in the second tier of candidates but don’t be surprised if he moves up as 2015 moves along.
The Supreme Court did the impossible on Monday. They actually found a way to close Chris Christie’s yapper. Wow. I am impressed. Here is Christie’s reaction to the Court’s contraception ruling yesterday.
“Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day, they did what they did.”
Now that is a profile in courage. Really. It takes someone with real stones to say nothing when most of his party is thrilled. For example Ted Cruz said it was a “landmark victory for religious liberty… The decision affirms that Americans, contrary to what the Obama administration attempted to impose, have a right to live and work in accordance to their conscience and can’t be forced to surrender their religious freedom once they open a business.”
Want to shut me up? Put on a judges robe.
Of course Cruz was not alone in his praise. The FOX News Channel acted like they had just won the Super Bowl and swept the Emmys all on the same day.
There is another way to look at this.
Maybe Christie’s lack of a response shows the tension many Bush Republicans feel these days. While it is easy to throw the base a bone on this ruling there is a flip side that if the country is still debating this in 2016 many suburban moderates will be turned off to the GOP. Look no further than Virginia and Ken Cuccinelli to see how these kind of social issues can bit the GOP even when they face weak Democratic opposition.
But can Christie, or really any potential nominee get away with being silent on these kind of issues and rulings with today’s GOP? So many people in the party, especially at the activist level believe Romney lost because he didn’t take the fight to Obama (I guess that whole first debate thing was just an illusion).
Will they be welling to put up with someone who remains quiet or will they demand someone who storms the brigades and leads them to the glorious victory they know they’ve always deserved? You really don’t have to think too hard to see which way that one is going.
Anita Perry who is the First Lady of Texas and also Mrs. Ricker (yup, she’s Rick Perry’s old lady) has some interesting thoughts on abortion. Here is what Politico is reporting she said:
“Yeah, that could be a women’s right. Just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I don’t agree with it, and that’s not my view.”
Well, I am guessing the Ricker might have problem with that little statement. Ricker is very pro-life on the issue of abortion. When he runs in 2016 you can bet Ricker will talk a great deal about his pro-life record. Comments like this one by his wife will be part of the whisper campaign against Perry.
Of course, Wendy Davis might mention it a few times as well.
What might have been…
Life is all about timing. If you are in the right place at the right time it can be magic. Unfortunately, if things don’t line up you can be screwed. One person who was born 25 years to soon was Jack Kemp.
Think about it, the guy was a solid tax cutting, gold standard supporting, pro-life conservative who played professional football. If this guy were entering Congress now he would be a regular on FOX News and be gushed over by the Weekly Standard and National Review.
Despite having been the primary advocate of supply-side economics, Kemp was never able to take off in his one run for the White House in 1988. If he were around today, a younger version of Kemp would be in the thick of it.
Sometimes time is not on your side.